PortalHomeCalendarGalleryChat RoomRoad Burner GameNew PostsSearchFAQRegisterLog in

Share | 

 First Drive: 2008 Dodge Caliber SRT-4

Go down 
Central Scrutinizer

Number of posts : 323
Age : 39
Location : Glendale Heights, IL
Vehicle : 2006 Dodge Charger R/T
Registration date : 2007-12-21

PostSubject: First Drive: 2008 Dodge Caliber SRT-4   Sat Dec 22, 2007 9:57 pm

Great Expectations: Can a Yankee Hot Hatch Run With the Foreign Sport Compacts?
By Todd Lassa, Frank Markus

Plant your right foot to the floor and call up all the Dodge Caliber SRT-4's torque, limited to 214 pound-feet in first gear. The carbon-fiber-pattern leather steering-wheel rim lists in your hands left, then right, like you're piloting the SS Minnow. Or a Saab turbo. At least there's no excessive squat, so the nose is steady as you shift to second for 245 pound-feet, and then through third, fourth, fifth, and sixth, where you get all 265 pound-feet. Equal-length halfshafts and the lowered ride height, as detailed in Frank Markus's sidebar, aren't enough to scare away the torque-steering jitters on a road-racing circuit, either. At Indiana's Putnam Park, the SRT-4's steering squirms through the esses and tighter turns the first time out. The second time, more speed and confidence squish the front wheels into understeering submission. Traction control adds some speed scrubbing through a couple of the tightest turns.

From the moment Dodge revealed the new SRT-4's specs some time ago, the big question was: Why no all-wheel drive? The answer starts with those remedies in said sidebar and concludes with the SRT-4 finding the even torquier front-drive Mazdaspeed3 as its chief competitor. Like the 'Speed3, its price leaves ber sport-compacts Mitsubishi Evo and Subaru WRX STI to enthusiasts with rich parents or software-writing jobs. The new SRT-4 comes in at a reasonable $22,995 with a few available options, like sunroof, 13-speaker, 322-watt "Kicker" sound system, and "Reconfigurable Display," which shows the driver 0-to-60 time, eighth- and quarter-mile acceleration, and speed, braking distance, and g-forces. Like the Mazdaspeed3 and the base WRX, the Caliber SRT-4 is another bang-for-buck bargain. What's a little (or a lot of) torque steer?

Street and Racing Technology's claimed 0-to-60-mph time of six seconds flat probably is conservative, although that torque-management in the first two gears prevents any neck snapping. As in a WRX, accelerating out of a second-gear turn requires waiting for the boost to build. SRT's six-second estimate matches our recorded time for the Mazdaspeed3, and it's 0.4 second slower than the old and the new WRX. SRT also boasts 0-to-60-to-0 mph in about 19 seconds and an autobahnesque top speed of 155 mph, reasonable given the way the little Caliber can pick up steam on Putnam Park's long straight. The SRT-4 also tops the lighter, less-powerful 2008 WRX's EPA fuel mileage, 21/26 mpg versus 19/24 mpg. That's the great thing about this segment; you can be smug about fuel economy and emissions while having fun.

Fun is to be had thanks to the turbocharging and intercooling of the 2.4-liter DOHC global four, shared among Chrysler, Daimler, Mitsubishi, and Hyundai. Besides adding Mitsubishi's TD04 turbo, SRT has a polished intake manifold and a forged crankshaft, connecting-rod oil squirters for stouter reliability, and a stainless-steel exhaust. Like the standard engine, it has variable valve timing for intake and exhaust.

SRT also adds a dual-mass flywheel for better noise/vibration/harshness characteristics. The new Getrag six-speed gearbox has dual-cone synchros for first through fourth gears, and the throws are an inch shorter. That's compared with a base Caliber's five-speed, which feels good only in comparison with the Caliber's continuously variable transmission. The Getrag six-speed feels slick and precise, but the throws are long next to those of a Miata or Civic Si.

Back to top Go down
View user profile http://www.cardomain.com/ride/2422522
First Drive: 2008 Dodge Caliber SRT-4
Back to top 
Page 1 of 1

Permissions in this forum:You cannot reply to topics in this forum
Muscle Car Domain :: Automotive Forums :: Chrysler LLC-
Jump to: